5 Rupees, and misrepresenting poverty?

Posted: August 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

Remember this little post?

Finally got down to making that video! Much love and thanks to photographers Martien Van Asseldonk, Dinidu De Alwis, Sachini Perera, Raashid Riza and Charles Haviland.
So check this shizz out and start your own 5 rupee bowl, man. 
In your home, your classroom, your work place, whatever.

Yep, a bowl full of bus change can help. It is that easy.  

Update: Also it’s come to my attention from T’s post and a few other places that there are concerns about exploitation and misrepresentation of the people in this video. Check it out, it’s an interesting post.

I have no doubt in my mind that many of the people in the video are awesome and happy most of the time, despite their lifestyles being different from ours. I’ve seen poor families live more satisfying lives and they’d seem much, much happier than the average one I’d see in Colombo 7.

But this isn’t about saying who is happier than who, who lives more ‘fulfilling lives.’ Money is just going to go into making them feel comfortable, regardless; there’s the woman who can’t afford 3 meals for her and a family because her husband left her and they’re left to fend for themselves, there’s a man who wishes he had the money to give his daughter a higher education – but he doesn’t; or just new clothes, new books. 

And I hate it when people look at a hobo and go ‘oh that poor man’ automatically, even though he seems physically happy and well, as though the obvious formula to being happy is money. I respect people with these different lifestyles, but the point here is not making them live like we do – with more money – but the point is giving them the option of living differently. 

We’ll ask them what they want and what they need, we’re not going to just pompously assume shiny clothes and a big house will make them happier – we actually ask them, and usually the answer is basic things like electricity or water or loans for education. So yeah, just so you know.

And urgh I sound like a fucking carebear now, I know. I knew I shouldn’t have watched so many of those reruns on MTV as a kid. 😐

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Comments
  1. Me-shak says:

    Lovely 🙂 The photos are super.

    Cheers!

  2. T says:

    I started to comment and then it got too long so i wrote a post instead. http://dance-triangle.blogspot.com/2010/08/photographing-poverty.html

    It’s not a criticism of you or your efforts, so i hope you take it in that spirit 🙂

    (i’m not blogwhoring, i just didnt want someone reading it and connecting some nonexistent dots and saying oh so and so is badmouthing you on her blog)

  3. Azrael says:

    Pls. provide link to FB page. thx 🙂

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